The Elephant In the Synagogue

9 07 2013

Had she been paid? Or was she chosen because her vulnerability was well-known and she was an easy target?

Had she come willingly to the synagogue, or had her heels left tracks in the dirt, looking as though a pair of snakes had made their way down the street?

Had they given her time to dress, or was she brought naked, humiliated, and utterly defeated? After all, they brought her to “church” – while the service was underway.

These are questions I ask when I read the story about the woman caught “in the very act.”

That she is less identifiable than her accusers makes me giggle.

That she was the only one brought before Jesus ticks me off.

There was an elephant in the synagogue that day. No one addressed it, not even Jesus.

It was this: Where was the dude?

To the best of my knowledge, it takes two to commit adultery.

This was a ruse, a scam, a set-up by “righteous” religious men who sought to trap Jesus.

The point wasn’t adultery.

Everybody in the room knew it (except maybe the wretched woman they’d thrown to the ground).

The point was their superiority. They thought they had a fail-proof way to trap the Lord, and didn’t care who they hurt in the process.

They interrupted Jesus who was teaching in the synagogue.

Gutsy.

Rude.

Ignoring their questions, and without addressing anyone, Jesus stooped down…

…and “doodled” in the dirt…

(I love this part…)

as though He did not hear.

Sermons that speculate on what was written abound. I won’t bore you with my favorite theory.

We simply do not know.

Question after question was fired at him like the staccato of a Gatling gun. Undaunted, Jesus continued to write in the dirt with His finger.

He took a break and stood up.

For the first time, He addressed the men:

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

Jesus went back to writing in the dirt.

The sound of rocks falling to the ground could be heard as one after the other, conscience-stricken, dropped them and slipped out of the building.

John 8 tells us that it was the oldest ones who left first. Interesting.

When Jesus stood up again, He finally spoke to the woman. It says, “He saw no one but the woman;” He only had eyes for her?…or had the entire synagogue emptied? Hmm.

“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

Then came the most beautiful words I think she’d ever heard:

Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

It is the things that are left out of this story that intrigue me most…

The woman’s name

The name of the men who unceremoniously dumped her at Jesus’ feet

The words written in dirt by the Lord’s finger…

Did you catch that? He wrote… in the dirt.

The Ten Commandments were written in stone. They were permanent.

Whatever Jesus wrote was written in dirt.Β 

ERASABLE!

Temporary, if they wanted it to be so.

Then there’s theΒ absent and unnamed man.

Love does, indeed, cover a multitude of sins…

…even the elephant in the synagogue!

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19 responses

6 08 2013
loopyloo305

Thank you for the comment and the interest in writing for “A Needed Word”, please watch your email for more information! Thank you and God bless!

9 07 2013
vonhonnauldt

As you point out, we can’t really know what the Lord wrote. I’ve always thought it was something along the line of ‘where is the dude?’ πŸ™‚ or perhaps the OT reference they were misusing. Loved your thought about writing in the dirt.

9 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

That was awesome – “Where is the dude?” Now that’s one I’ve never heard. Love it.

Are you going to post something again sometime soon? I haven’t gotten any posts from you for a bit. I miss reading your articles.

Have a blessed day. πŸ™‚
\o/

10 07 2013
vonhonnauldt

I posted a couple things yesterday. Thanks for the encouragement.

9 07 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

Great post, Tami. I always wondered where the man was myself. It was an obvious set up since women were looked down upon to begin with in those days. Jesus treated the woman with class and respect, while shaming the very ones who were too busy looking at the speck in another’s eyes to see their own log.

9 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

That’s so true. Great point! πŸ™‚
\o/

9 07 2013
findingmyinnercourage

Your perception, impression and discussion in this Blog are AWESOME! Lovin this one!

9 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks! The Word is so full of rich lessons for us, isn’t it?
πŸ™‚
\o/

9 07 2013
findingmyinnercourage

The Word is indeed full of rich lessons!

9 07 2013
melanie jean juneau

great insights, reflections and questions

9 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks! πŸ™‚
\o/

9 07 2013
melanie jean juneau

πŸ™‚

9 07 2013
Kathleen

Love your pointing out that Jesus wrote in the dirt and comparing that to the Ten Commandments He wrote on stone! What He wrote was erasable! What an awesome point!!

9 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

That’s one of my favorite points in the story. πŸ™‚
\o/

9 07 2013
kingintraining

I LOVE how Jesus often pretended to just not hear someone!

9 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

I don’t think He wants to hear our version of someone else’s shortcomings. He’s all ears when we want to talk about our own, though!

\o/

9 07 2013
kingintraining

Oh yes, so true!

9 07 2013
Heidi Viars

It always made me wonder where the dude was, since she was caught in the act (I think that would require him being there) … thanks, Tammi, for this wonderful post… blessings as you share Him today!

9 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

πŸ™‚
\o/

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